Sunshine Birth Retreat

28th June – 2nd July 2018

Advanced Skills for Doulas and Birthkeepers With Ruth Ehrhardt, Nicola Goodall and Kerys Williams


Sunshine Birth retreat is a new initiative aimed at bringing together experienced doulas, midwives and birthkeepers to share their knowledge and wisdom on birth in sacred circle. This is the first of a series of workshops to come over the next years. The course is aimed at doulas, midwives, birthkeepers and those interested in pursuing this field of work. During this 3 day workshop we will look at prenatal, birth and postpartum stages of the birthing process and share information on movement, remedies, techniques and offer a certification from the Helping Babies Breathe organisation, for cases when neonatal support is needed.

The following is an overall guideline of what to expect. Each session will be focused on storytelling, group sharing, hands-on experience and drawing upon the wisdom of the group as well as being guided by the facilitators. We will use simple exercises for grounding and centering and will focus on self-care, reflection and journaling as tools for integration and self-awareness. At the end of each day we will have sessions on how to actively and concretely bring what we have learnt into our daily lives and how we can make positive changes in our respective birth cultures.

Welcoming: Opening circle to introduce each other, set intentions, arrive, ground and brainstorm the needs of the group.
Prenatal Day: Antenatal exercises for first, second and third stages of pregnancy. Remedies – herbs, oils, diet, nutrition. Birth preparation – addressing the What If…Pregnancy diary.
Birth Day: Labour support. The basic needs of a woman in labour – back to basics. De-mystification of basic midwifery skills as this belongs to all women. Birth emergency first aid – bleeding, retained placenta, cord prolapse, breech, shoulder dystocia and Helping Babies Breathe (neonatal rescusitation)
Postpartum: Remedies – herbs, diet, oils, nutrition. Support systems. Mother-warming – traditional information from around the world. Grandma’s box of goodies.
Closing: Activism. How to penetrate the system. Where to go from here…


Things you can expect to walk away with:

A deeper connection to yourself as a birthkeeper, as well to the greater birthing community.
A deeper knowledge of herbs, and other remedies pertinent to pregnancy, birth and the postpartum period.
A reminder of the very simple, and yet often overlooked, basic needs of a women in labour, the love hormone oxytocin, and the environmental factors that affect it.
Basic midwifery skills for pregnancy, birth and postpartum. We believe this knowledge should belong to women and those giving birth and we should have a better understanding of how and why things are done.
Birth ‘First Aid’ – this will include the Helping Babies Breathe course and certificate as well as a look at basic skills for when birth does not go according to plan.


Our schedule:

07.30 – 09.00: Morning womb meditation & movement
09:00 – 10:00: Breakfast & quiet time
10:00 – 13:00: Session one
13:00 – 15:30: Lunch & optional massage treatment
15:30 – 19:00: Session two
19:00 – 20:00: Dinner
20:00 – 21:30: Evening programme – skinny dipping/singing/fire ceremony/herbal steam bath/chatting/journaling/nothing….


The facilitators

ruth 1

Ruth is trained as a Certified Professional Midwife (NARM), a doula (WOMBS,ZA / Paramanadoula,UK), and is a Helping Babies Breathe facilitator and master trainer. Born in Switzerland and raised in South Africa, she currently works as an active independent midwife in South Africa, helps organise The Cape Town Midwifery and Birth Conference and has written the beautifully simple and eloquent book called The Basic needs of a woman in labour, now available in 4 languages.
She is the mother of four home-birthed, home-schooled children and having also trained with current birthing pioneers such as both Michel Odent and Ina May Gaskin, she has had the privilege of receiving a wealth of information on natural birth and is herself at the forefront of making active changes within the birthing system of South Africa with various initiatives. She co-created a project called Home Birth South Africa, aimed at offering information on home birth via the internet and quarterly meetings and is also one of the directors of the Compassionate Birth Project, aimed at addressing abuse on the South African labour wards.
Ruth’s relaxed, grounded and charismatic way of sharing and holding space is both comforting and inspirational. She is able to teach what she is passionate about with stories and experiences, which leave time and space for integration, as well as a little bit of laughter! You can catch her vibe here:

nicolaNicola has been involved in birth for over twenty years..helping women through their journeys alongside her own births and raising her family. Officially trained in 2002 with Michel Odent as one of the first Paramanadoulas, she was a founding member of the Scottish Doula Network, after she moved to Edinburgh, where she still resides. She works actively not only as a doula, but is also part of many different initiatives which promote natural childbirth and labour.

Becoming the main facilitator for the Mindful Doulas training programme, gave her the experience and push to found the Red Tent Doulas training initiative in 2014 which has taken off in several countries worldwide. Nicola is also the director of the Wysewomen workshops – a series of learning circles aimed at women sharing with women through storytelling, publications and healthy social media, to bring back traditional practices in our modern world.

As a very active member of the childbirth movement both within the UK and Europe, she can often be found co-teaching workshops with other midwives and doulas (Loving the Mother, Da A Luz), giving very eloquent, fluent talks at birth conferences and universities, giving amazing TED talks ( and generally offering endless time and commitment to students, birthkeepers, mothers and birth activists to assist them on their journeys. Nicola is a very direct and honest jewel of information who never ceases to inspire others to be the change they wish to see in the world.


kerys 2

Kerys spent many years living and working in Thailand, Japan and India and has carried with her imprints of a deep spiritual practice. Studying Thai Massage and Yoga were catalysts for a big shift in her life, moving from teaching international peace studies to children to relocating in Greece and focusing on the dream of Sunshine House. Her transition into motherhood has brought her to a deeper understanding of herself, of the need for community and of the need to reach the child within. She is a trained yoga teacher for children and has studied Birthlight Perinatal Yoga but her focus tends often to be on simply nurturing pregnant women and helping with birth preparation, basic nutrition, breastfeeding and early years Steiner education etc. Also deeply moved by various indigenous shamanic practices, her aim is to reach deep into ancestral wisdom and bring back that which we own already….E ma Durga! Viva la mama and the Goddess…she is but one!

Registration and info: